A direct-current fast charging station for electric vehicles at Squamish. (Black Press files)

B.C.’s subsidized electric vehicle sales gaining speed

Vehicle ’luxury tax’ lands on work pickups, MLAs reminded

*This article has been updated. The previous version contained incomplete data on California vehicle incentives.

B.C.’s electric car incentives are working, but other policy changes would help reduce greenhouse gas emissions more, says the head of the New Car Dealers Association of B.C.

The additional $10 million put toward zero-emission vehicle subsidies is appreciated, Blair Qualey told the B.C. legislature finance committee Wednesday. But he said there is more B.C. can do to cut greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles, the largest source in the provincial economy.

The province is under increased pressure to drive down emissions from transportation, building heat and other sources, to meet ambitious greenhouse gas reduction targets while construction begins on the province’s first large-scale liquefied natural gas export facility at Kitimat.

The province recharged its electric vehicle incentive fund in September when applications to the fund showed the original $27 million budget for the year was about to run out. The point-of-sale incentive program, administered by the New Car Dealers, provides up to $5,000 for purchase or leaase of a new battery electric or plug-in hybrid vehicle, or up to $6,000 for the emerging technology of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

RELATED: B.C. electric vehicle subsidy fund drains faster than expected

RELATED: Electric vehicles get free pass to use HOV lanes in B.C.

The association says electric vehicles represented 3.7 per cent of new car sales in June 2018, with more than 1,400 vehicle incentive applications paid out in April and June.

The association conducted a survey in September that found two out of five drivers are “definitely” or “probably” considering an electric vehicle. While the survey shows many urban dwellers are able to use an electric car for their daily commuting and other needs, Qualey said the prospect of batteries running out continues to be a deterrent to switching from gasoline and diesel vehicles.

“It’s not like you can get a gas can and go fill it up,” Qualey said. “You’d have to get towed somewhere.”

Penticton MLA Dan Ashton asked about the association’s long-running request for changes to the escalating “luxury tax” on the purchase of new vehicles costing more than $55,000. One-ton pickups are exempt from the tax, prompting some buyers to choose them for work when a lighter truck would do the job with lower emissions, Qualey said.

New categories of the surtax on luxury vehicles came into effect in April, adding an eight per cent surtax on vehicles costing $125,000 or more and 13 per cent on those costing $150 or more.

Qualey suggested the province could consider a luxury tax on high-end jewelry or other purchases rather than focusing on vehicles.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

McDonald’s manager in Hope recognized with national award

Cassidy Harasin recognized for her hard work over past eight years

UPDATE: Overnight shooting in downtown Chilliwack leaves one male on life support

The victim, who is not expected to survive, is known to police and was likely targeted, IHIT says

Conservative Brad Vis wins in Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canyon

Vis wins in second bid for seat in House of Commons

Trudeau has won the most seats — but not a majority. What happens next?

Trudeau will have to deal with some of the implications of Monday’s result

Fraser Canyon Hospital has urgent need for stretchers

Stretchers needed in Hope’s emergency room cost $12,000 each

Scheer says Canada more divided than ever, as NDP and Bloc hold cards close

While Liberals were shut out of two key prairie provinces, they took two-thirds of the seats in Ontario

Investor alert: ‘Split games’ pyramid scheme circulating in B.C.

British Columbia Securities Commission issues warning about scheme selling virtual shares

Federal NDP may support B.C. with major projects, Carole James says

SkyTrain Surrey extension, Massey Tunnel need Ottawa’s help

‘Issue-by-issue parliament’: Expert says Liberals need to placate NDP to be effective

Scandals, social issues, racism defined 2019 federal election, SFU prof says

Misconduct investigations spike by 65% across B.C.’s municipal police forces: report

Reports overall up 15 per cent while complaints made by public down seven per cent

Guns, crossbows, swords, ammo seized in raid on Fraser Valley home

Weapons also included stun guns and replica firearms

Homicide team investigates death of man in his 20s in Chilliwack

Victim known to police and attack likely targeted, IHIT says

‘Wexit’ talk percolates day after Liberals returned to power with minority

An online petition is calling for a western alliance and Alberta to separate

Owner of seafood company pleads guilty to illegally importing fish into U.S.

‘We would not put customer health and safety at risk’: Seven Seas Fish

Most Read